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Indiana Gov. Visits Grand Design RV Plant

Mike Pence, Republican governor of Indiana, meets today with employees at Grand Design Inc RV LLC in Middlebury, Ind. Photo courtesy of RVBusiness.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence joined executives from Grand Design RV LLC today (April 18) to announce the company’s plans to locate its headquarters and manufacturing operations in Middlebury, Ind., creating up to 500 new jobs by 2016.

According to a press release, the company invested $11.1 million to purchase and equip four plants totaling more than 400,000 square feet on a 67-acre campus located at 11333 C.R. 2 in Middlebury.

Grand Design, which introduced its product to the market in January, expects its Middlebury campus to produce more than 1,750 units this year which will be shipped to more than 120 dealers across North America.

“There is no location more convenient or suited for Grand Design’s operations than Elkhart County, the RV capital of the world,” said Pence. “With our skilled work force, competitive tax climate and robust infrastructure, the Hoosier State stands out as the best place to start and grow a business.”

Grand Design, which currently employs 115 workers in Middlebury, is hiring additional staff across the company, including manufacturing, distribution, administration and sales.

“In forming Grand Design, our desire was to create a special company that people wanted to build a career with, dealers and suppliers wanted to partner with and build products that retail customers would be proud to own,” said Don Clark, president and co-owner of Grand Design. “We had a strong desire to base our new company in Elkhart County and specifically Middlebury. This area has a strong supplier network and an experienced RV work force. The high level of quality that we are building into our products demands this type of expertise. We have been fortunate to attract individuals that truly care about the product they build and possess a work ethic that is second to none.”

Launched by RV industry veterans Clark along with brothers Ron and Bill Fenech in late 2012, Grand Design currently manufactures its signature Solitude brand, an extended-stay fifth-wheel, with plans to develop and manufacture up to six different product lines of towable fifth-wheel and travel trailers for the recreational industry.

State Help

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Grand Design RV up to $2.85 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The town of Middlebury supports the project at the request of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp.

“This is great news for Elkhart County,” said David Hess, member of the Elkhart County Council. “Grand Design could have made this investment in a nearby state, however they decided to invest right here in Elkhart County. Our strong business climate, entrepreneurial spirit and expertise in the recreational vehicle, automotive and transportation sectors were all deciding factors. The Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County and the state of Indiana work diligently to create an economically vibrant community where companies like Grand Design can thrive and prosper. This is key to our county’s long-term economic prosperity and will generate many more success stories like this one in the years ahead.”

RV production in the Hoosier State continues to come back since the national economic recession. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the RV industry produced 26,100 units nationally in February, a 6% increase from the year before. More than 83% of all American-made RVs are produced in Indiana.

Aerial view of the 400,000-square-foot factory complex north of Middlebury, Ind., where startup manufacturer Grand Design RV LLC is busy building new RVs. The company got a boost today from state and local government.

 

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